How to stop the self-sabotaging cycle?

Self-sabotage refers to the behaviors that prevent us from reaching our full potential. We may find ourselves engaging in behaviors that have mental, emotional or physical consequences and hold us back from achieving our goals.

We don’t always realize that sometimes the biggest thing standing in the way of our success is our mindset. We can be our own worst enemies. And quite often we don’t even know it.

Our inner voices can be very critical, telling us we can’t or shouldn’t do something because we will fail.

Doubt has killed more dreams than fear.

You have more power than you think to create positive changes and overcome destructive behavioral patterns. Any negative habit can be replaced with awareness and the right actions.

What are the causes of self-sabotage?

  • Fear of failure – We set goals but when it comes to action we subconsciously avoid the work that needs to be done because we are afraid of potential failure.

  • Low self-esteem – We may be lacking self-esteem and subconsciously believe that we do not deserve to achieve what we want or to be respected and treated well, even by ourselves.

  • Bad habits – We may know what we want to achieve, however our current behaviors and bad habits keep us stuck in an infinite loop of inaction and discouragement.

  • Misaligned values – We may find ourselves do things that are considered good, useful, ‘musts’, but they are motivated by societal or familial pressures. These things may not fully represent our true values, dreams and ambitions.

How does self-sabotage show up?

  • Perfectionism – Although it may seem as a good strategy to go for the best/ optimal result, perfectionism hampers success. Many people choose to wait until they’re 100% ready, capable and successful before they move forward towards a goal. Perfectionism causes delays and setbacks and has a negative impact on our readiness, motivation and self-confidence.

  • Poor health – Do you keep prioritizing others instead of yourself? Do you find yourself constantly tired, stressed and brain-fogged? You probably don’t spend much time for self-care. Mental, psychological and physical health and wellbeing are critical factors in our energy stocks, motivation and concentration.

  • Blaming others – If you find yourself blaming other people and external events for your own misfortune and you consider other people responsible for your own actions and results, then you put yourself in a passive and victim role, believing it’s out of your control. Is this actually true?

  • Blaming yourself – This manifests with negative self-talk, constant self-accusations about everything and focusing on mistakes and failures of the past.

  • Procrastination – This is also linked with fear of failure, but also fear of success. It’s a sign that you may want not to disappoint others or that you don’t accept the ‘cost’ of what needs to be done.

How do we overcome self-sabotage?

  • Identify the problem – It’s important to firstly assess your situation, observe your thoughts, feelings and actions without judgement. Identifying all these negative patterns can be difficult, and you may benefit from coaching sessions.

  • Find purpose – Think of why you want to overcome it. What’s your ultimate purpose? What will you gain if you do? How this is going to change your life? Once you have your answers, set goals towards your personal and professional development.

  • Make a plan – Once you set your goal, prepare yourself for the path you need to take. Plan small steps every day. Taking action will reward you with confidence, empowerment and motivation to proceed.

  • Overcome limiting beliefs – After identifying the issue, it’s essential to break the loop. By paying close attention to your thoughts and patterns, you can start questioning and disputing how these beliefs were shaped, if they are true and if they actually serve you. Then, by reframing your thoughts, changing the meaning you assign to them and replacing them with more empowering, positive and useful ones, you will start noticing the transformation in your belief system. This can take time and you will probably need the help of an expert.

  • Show self-compassion – Remember to be compassionate towards yourself and do not waste your time and energy with self-criticism. With self-compassion, you can accept your past choices, mistakes and lessons learned and move forward.

Overcoming self-sabotage can be challenging, but with the assistance of a professional Coach, you can get the tools and strategies you need to break the habit. You’ll find yourself more prepared to take action in your personal growth, career, relationships and well-being, finding renewed confidence and trust in your own abilities.

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